It’s been more than 15 years since I got my first job as a cashier at Wegmans, and I still have yet to find a better grocery store. Founded by two brothers in Rochester, New York in 1916, Wegmans is still a family-owned company, with over 100 stores located across eight East Coast states, plus Washington D.C. Each store is beautifully maintained, stocked with both basic and specialty grocery items that are affordable and easy to find.
Not only are the aisles filled with everything you could ever need, but the fresh fruit and vegetable displays rival those you’d find at a farmers market. It’s also a pretty great place to work for—Wegmans offers college scholarships and benefits, even if you’re not a full-time employee—making the in-store shopping experience and interactions with employees actually enjoyable, not just another chore.
Most grocery stores have their own store-brand items, but the Wegmans brand goes above and beyond, in my opinion. You can count on anything with Wegmans’ “Food You Feel Good About” label to be free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and to often be cheaper than big brand competitors.
If you’re shopping at Wegmans for the first time, add these items to your list. You can’t find them anywhere else—not that you’d want to shop anywhere other than Wegmans after you’re done.
1. Basting Oil
If there’s one thing you should stock up on at Wegmans, make it this basting oil. A blend of olive oil with garlic and dried herbs like parsley and thyme, it’s good on literally anything—roasted veggies, fish, chicken, meat, salads, or even as a dipping oil for bread.
2. Cave-Aged Cheeses
The cheese department at Wegmans has always been a thing of beauty, stocked with wedges and wheels from all over the world. It got even better in 2014, when the grocery store opened its own cheese cave facilities in upstate New York, where they age their Wegmans brand Brie, goat, sake- and cider-washed, triple crème, Taleggio, and Alpine cheeses. My favorite is the Come Ash You Are, a semi-hard milk cheese with mushroomy notes.
3. Ginger Sparkling Water
The first time I tried Wegmans’ ginger sparkling water, I thought I was drinking ginger ale. I’d consider myself a seltzer fanatic, and this one is by far my favorite. Use it in cocktails or simply drink straight out of the can.
4. Grandma’s Pomodoro Pasta Sauce
Wegmans offers a range of what it calls "Italian Classic" products, including fresh and dried pastas, frozen pizzas, cheeses, and sauces. This Grandma’s Pomodoro Pasta Sauce, seasoned with onions, garlic, and basil reminds me of the popular Rao’s sauce brand—but priced at $2.79, you can get it for a fraction of the cost. Stock up, you won’t regret it.
5. Chocolate Chip Cookies
After almost every shift I worked at Wegmans, I’d reward myself with one of these classic chocolate chip cookies from the bakery section. They’re relatively flat and chewy, and bend without breaking. Yes, buy them in bin format. I dare you to eat just one.